Singing Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death

Singing Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death

"When we face life challenges, we must find a way not only to survive them, but in time, to actually grow from them. We must find a way to keep on keeping on, no matter how hard or painful life becomes."

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"If life challenges are a treasure, why do very few people desire it?"

I have heard often from my more spiritual friends that life's challenges and life's suffering don't have to be bad things, as we often think. No, the conventional manner of thinking is not that they are good things - but it is a thought process I've learned to embrace as the past year has gone on. I've recently explored a Bible plan titled, "Singing Through The Storm," a coping mechanism for dealing with the metaphor of being in the storm, being in the peak and middle of life's suffering. What drew me to this plan, in particular, was author Kelli Horn's blurb that, "What counts in life is not what happens to us, but how we respond to it."

So how do we respond? We sing.

It is part of the human condition to feel pain and suffer, and to feel like it's not easy. Even Kelli says that "I hate the pain, but I have to accept that in order to experience the future blessings." But she goes on to say that "life challenges are actually one of life's 'best kept secrets.' if you change your perspective and learn to respond wisely to it." At the end of the day, Kelli notes that her sufferings and challenges are what make her a better person. That, after all, is what life is all about.

She goes on to note that the greatest treasure she has learned in the face of her sufferings is that "when we face life challenges, we must find a way not only to survive them, but in time, to actually grow from them. We must find a way to keep on keeping on, no matter how hard or painful life becomes." That is the purpose of singing, but how do we do it? How do we "sing through the storm, like never before"?

The best example in the scripture of how we can "keep on keeping on regardless of our emotions or circumstances" is the scene of Paul and Silas singing while imprisoned in a Philippian jail in Acts 16:25. While Paul and Silas were singing to God, there was an earthquake that rattled the jail and let all the prisoners escape, except two: Paul and Silas. The jailer, in discovering this, attempted to kill himself because he thought Paul and Silas had escaped. But they didn't escape. They keot singing and had unconditional joy in God, and stopped the jailer from killing himself. The jailer, struck by the joy of Paul and Silas, asked them, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

No one knows what song they were singing. It's left ambiguous for a reason, I suppose, and if we have the ability to sing through our own storms, we should use the song that is the most meaningful for us. For me, it would be uncharacteristic and perhaps not all too Christian: I would sing My Chemical Romance's "Famous Last Words" that allow me to "keep on keeping on." Like Paul and Silas, I would sing each word passionately and graciously, and turn my sorrows and grief into the positive.

Music can often put into words a lot of emotions that we can't. Kelli tells us that "a song is worth a thousand antidepressants. Specific songs can comfort us, bring a smile to our face, cause us to be grateful, [and] challenge us to treat others with kindness." She urges us, in this plan, to choose three songs that are special to our hearts to listen to every day for several weeks. Kelli wants to encourage us to "to keep God, family, and growth in clear focus," even amidst the turmoil in our lives, even when we feel like we're wandering through the valley of the shadow of death, through hell.

So I implore you to find three songs that you know by heart, three songs that mean everything to you, and sing them. They won't magically fix things, but they can guide you through the storm.

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11 Things Psychology Majors Hear That Drive Them Crazy

No pun intended.
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We've all been there. You're talking to a new acquaintance, or a friend of your parents, or whoever. And then, you get the dreaded question.

"So what are you studying in school?"

Cue the instant regret of picking Psychology as your major, solely for the fact that you are 99.9% likely to receive one of the slightly comical, slightly cliche, slightly annoying phrases listed below. Don't worry though, I've included some responses for you to use next time this comes up in conversation. Because it will.

Quick side note, these are all real-life remarks that I've gotten when I told people I was a psych major.

Here we go.

1. So are you, like, analyzing me right now?


Well, I wasn't. But yeah. Now I am.

2. Ugh so jealous! You picked the easy major.


"Lol" is all I have to say to this one. I'm gonna go write my 15-page paper on cognitive impairment. You have fun with your five college algebra problems, though!

3. So can you tell me what you think is wrong with me? *Shares entire life story*


Don't get me wrong; I love listening and helping people get through hard times. But we can save the story about how one time that one friend said that one slightly rude comment to you for later.

4. Well, s**t, I have to be careful what I say around you.


Relax, pal. I couldn't diagnose and/or institutionalize you even if I wanted to.

5. OMG! I have the perfect first client for you! *Proceeds to vent about ex-boyfriend or girlfriend*


Possible good response: simply nod your head the entire time, while actually secretly thinking about the Ben and Jerry's carton you're going to go home and demolish after this conversation ends.

6. So you must kind of be like, secretly insane or something to be into Psychology.


Option one: try and hide that you're offended. Option two: just go with it, throw a full-blown tantrum, and scare off this individual, thereby ending this painful conversation.

7. Oh. So you want to be a shrink?


First off, please. Stop. Calling. Therapists. Shrinks. Second, that's not a psych major's one and only job option.

8. You know you have to go to grad school if you ever want a job in Psychology.


Not completely true, for the record. But I am fully aware that I may have to spend up to seven more years of my life in school. Thanks for the friendly reminder.

9. So you... want to work with like... psychopaths?


Let's get serious and completely not-sarcastic for a second. First off, I take personal offense to this one. Having a mental illness does not classify you as a psycho, or not normal, or not deserving of being treated just like anyone else on the planet. Please stop using a handful of umbrella terms to label millions of wonderful individuals. It's not cool and not appreciated.

10. So can you, like, read my mind?


It actually might be fun to say yes to this one. Try it out and see what happens. Get back to me.

11. You must be a really emotional person to want to work in Psychology.


Psychology is more than about feeling happy, or sad, or angry. Psychology is about understanding the most complex thing to ever happen to us: our brain. How it works the way it does, why it works the way it does, and how we can better understand and communicate with this incredibly mysterious, incredibly vast organ in our tiny little skull. That's what psychology is.

So keep your head up, psychology majors, and don't let anyone discourage you about choosing, what is in my opinion, the coolest career field out there. The world needs more people like us.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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What's worth more than red roses?

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Five years old and a bouquet of roses rested in her hands. The audience-- clapped away her performance, giving her a standing ovation. She's smiling then because everything made sense, her happiness as bright as the roses she held in her hands.

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Twenty-one and a bundle of bills were grasped in her hands. All the men-- clapped and roared as she sold her soul, to the pole, for a dance. She's frowning now because everything went wrong, but she has to stay strong, for rich green money, is worth more than red roses.

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